Margin: Liberal National 7.6%
Region: Rural Southern
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Electorate analysis: Lockyer covers rural areas between but not including Ipswich and Toowoomba, along with a narrow salient extending to the south of Ipswich. The main population centres are Gatton, 90 kilometres west of Brisbane, and Laidley, 15 kilometres south-east of Gatton. Lockyer was one of only two seats to be won by One Nation at more than one election, and has never been held by Labor in a history that goes back to 1888. Nationals member Tony Fitzgerald, who had won the seat from the Liberals in 1980, was defeated in 1998 by One Nation’s Peter Prenzler, who polled 39.8 per cent of the primary vote to Fitzgerald’s 25.5 per cent (down from 66.6 per cent in 1995) to finish 3.7 per cent ahead after preferences. Prenzler was in the City-Country Alliance camp by the time of the 2001 election, but was outpolled by One Nation candidate Bill Flynn (with the Nationals reduced to fourth place). Leadership of the rump of One Nation did not help Flynn in 2004, when Nationals candidate Ian Rickuss boosted his party’s primary vote from 16.9 per cent to 34.9 per cent.
Rickuss was given the role of parliamentary secretary to the Shadow State Development and Small Business Minister following the September 2005 coalition agreement, but lost it after the 2006 election. He was opposition whip from July 2006, but lost this too after the 2009 election, before regaining it when Campbell Newman became LNP leader in April 2011. A month later he saw off a preselection challenge from Lockyer Valley Councillor David Neuendorf, who will now run as the candidate of Katter’s Australian Party.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.